Dubai is playing a key role in the region’s first foray into outer space, which is planning to send the first Arab spacecraft on a science mission to Mars by July 2020.
The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is planning to send the first Middle-Eastern built spacecraft on a scientific research mission to Mars by July 2020. The project is on track, with engineers on the local and international level working together to ensure the mission’s success.
The Emirati team is recruiting local graduates alongside seasoned Emirati engineers and scientists to work on this mission, with an expected 150 Emiratis joining the crew by 2020. The Mars probe Al-Amal, or ‘Hope’, is being built to collect comprehensive data on the red planet never recorded before. Objectives for the quest include tracking the climate on Mars, understanding why and how Mars is losing its hydrogen and oxygen into space and providing around-the-clock weather and planet monitoring and sending that data back to Earth.
This would be the first time comprehensive data about Mars will be gathered, setting a precedent for the region in space. It will also pave the way for the UAE’s vision to build the first city on Mars by 2117.
UAE Space Agency puts together an international space team
“The (UAE) Mars probe is a catalyst for change,” said Astronaut Col. Al Worden, USAF-Retd., in a speech during the Space Conference at the Dubai Airshow. “I think we are all going to go together. Such a plan needs cooperation, collaboration and it’s extremely expensive, technical and complex. We can’t do it alone.”
Global input and collaboration is already underway, primarily between the UAE Space Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAEA). Recently, applications have opened – online no less – for Emiratis interested in being part of history by becoming the first UAE citizens to visit the International Space Station. This initial crew callout forms part of the newly launched UAE Astronaut Program. Crew for the Mission to Mars will be sourced in coming years.
1,500kgs of Hope
The unmanned spacecraft Hope will be launched from a southern island in Japan in 2020, taking up to nine months to reach Mars. The Hope spacecraft is expected to send back data analysis by 2021, a date to coincide with the UAE’s 50th National day.